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According to the wikipedia page, it looks like this was written in 52-54AD, shortly after 1 Thessalonians which was supposedly written in 52. It would seem as though the authorship of this one is in more question that 1 Thessalonians, which is generally accepted as genuine. It does say that the people who think it isn't genuine think it might be written by one of Paul's associates shortly after Paul's death. They wrote what they thought Paul would have said to the Thessalonians. I gotta admit, this doesn't seem like the biggest of scandals to me. When they say that that a particular book is a forgery, I usually picture someone sticking it into the bible hundreds of years later, that seems like a much bigger problem. A letter supposedly written by Paul but instead written by his right hand man really doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Don't get me wrong, it's not nothing and it is worthy of bringing up, but it's not horrible. I'm gonna have to pay closer attention from now on to what is being claimed when they say something might be a forgery.
Greeting (v. 1-2)
Just a greeting, nothing to see here
Thanksgiving (v. 3-4)
We give thanks to God that your faith is growing and your love for one another is increasing.
Just telling them they are awesome at the beginning of the letter I guess.
Also they are dealing with persecutions and afflictions.
This is once again brought out as if it is a good thing.
The Judgment at Christ's Coming (v. 5-12)
Your faith and affliction are evidence of the second coming of Jesus. He will grant relief to you of your afflictions and will "repay with affliction those who afflict you". He will target people who to not obey the gospel of Jesus, or are simply unaware of it. God has come down to be glorified. We will pray for you that you will be deemed worthy and remain on the good side of these events.
Wow, so much to say here. First of all, how is the faith and affliction of the Thessalonians proof of the second coming of Jesus? Pretty much everyone faces affliction of some form or another, and many people in the history of the world have had faith.
More importantly though, in verse 6 God will repay affliction with affliction. He is basically saying eye for an eye except it will be delivered by God himself. It was just said last chapter that you are not supposed to use eye for an eye anymore. Is it magically okay if God does it?
In verse 8, it mentions that one of the reasons you can get this vengeance from God is that you don't know God. Well this seems pretty damn unfair. It at least makes some sort of sense if you are aware of God and told him to take a hike (Still seems like an overreaction though), but you can be punished for simply being ignorant of God?
Finally, in verse 10, it says that god will come down to be glorified. So at least part of his motivation is incredibly vain. Isn't this a problem for Christians? I would not be so interested in worshiping a deity who acts like this.
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
1:6 eye for an eye
"since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you"
1:8 ignorance from God = vengeance from God
"in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."
1:10 God is vain
"when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed"